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The UK locations with the greatest broadband speed improvements and the fastest download speeds over the past 12 months

The UK locations with the greatest broadband speed improvements and the fastest download speeds over the past 12 months

Published: 27 APRIL 2020
  • Kingston upon Hull has the best broadband speed improvement as well as the highest speed overall at 131.4 Mbit/s

  • The most improved areas outside London are Kingston upon Hull, Corby and Test Valley.

  • In London, the borough of Camden has seen the biggest improvement, followed by Kensington and Chelsea and Islington.

  • Areas that fall below USO (Universal Service Obligation) standards include remote areas of Scotland, with the Orkney Islands, Argyll and Bute and the Shetland Islands falling behind the most.

21 April 2020 (FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE): New research from comparethemarket.com today reveals the areas in the UK where broadband speed has improved the most over the last twelve months and which locations have the fastest download speeds.
 
The research analyses the average broadband speed for locations around the UK, including all London boroughs, between 2018 and 2019, to discover where internet connectivity has improved the most. As well as revealing where the biggest improvements have been made, the research identifies the areas where broadband falls below USO (Universal Service Obligation) standards.
 
The research can be seen in full here.

Holly Niblett, Head of Digital at comparethemarket.com commented:

“With the UK on lockdown, internet connectivity is more important than ever, whether it be for working from home or streaming movies and TV shows. While it is encouraging that broadband speed has improved in some parts of the country, there is still some way to go.
 
“Whilst the government recently pledged to increase broadband infrastructure spending, there are still hundreds of thousands of homes without decent broadband and the vast majority of these are in remote areas. With a significant number of people now working from home, lack of connectivity could be a serious cause for concern. Our research shows that four in ten consumers are experiencing issues with their broadband, which is impacting being able to work from home effectively.
 
“If you find your connection is too slow, or you don’t have the capacity you need, you might want to consider upgrading to a new package or switching provider. While many broadband switches remain unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak, if yours requires an engineer visit, you may face a delay. This is because Openreach is prioritising repair and maintenance services that support critical infrastructure. Switches which typically require an engineer include those to/from Virgin Media and BT Ultrafast broadband, but it is worth checking with the individual provider.”

Areas with the biggest improvements (outside of London)

Hull in Yorkshire takes the top spot for improvements, with a 54.9Mbit/s increase from 2018. One of the reasons for this could be that Hull has an entirely independent telecoms network.

Seven of the top ten areas where broadband has improved are located further south, with just two northern areas in the top ten.
 
At the other end of the scale, the research identified four areas where broadband speed had dropped over the past twelve months. These were Daventry (-14.7Mbit/s), Babergh (-7.5Mbit/s), Folkestone & Hythe (-6.3Mbit/s) and Wiltshire (-2.5Mbit/s).

Name Country 2018 Average download speed (Mbit/s) 2019 Average download speed (Mbit/s) Average Download speed improvement (Mbit/s)
Kingston upon Hull East Riding of Yorkshire 76.5 131.4 54.9
Corby Northamptonshire 55.8 92.9 37.1
Test Valley Hampshire 48.2 72.7 24.5
Dartford Kent 44.1 67.7 23.6
Ards and North Down Ards and North Down 37 59.7 22.7

Download speeds around the UK (excluding London)

When it comes to the fastest download speeds, Hull leads the way again with a download speed of 131.4Mbit/s, followed by Corby (92.9Mbits/s) and West Dunbartonshire (92.4Mbit/s).

Orkney Islands (28.7Mbit/s), Forest of Dean (30.9Mbit/s) and Powys (31.5Mbit/s) had the slowest download speeds in the UK.

London boroughs with the biggest improvements

Each borough in the capital saw an improvement in download speeds compared to 2018, with Camden seeing the biggest rise, from 56.7Mbit/s in 2018 to 77.7Mbit/s in 2019, an improvement of 21Mbit/s.
 
In contrast, speeds in the City of London were the lowest in the capital, and also had the least improvement, rising by just 7.3Mbit/s in the last year.

Borough 2018 Average download speed (Mbit/s) 2019 Average download speed (Mbit/s) Average download speed improvement (Mbit/s)
Camden 56.7 77.7 21
Kensington and Chelsea 56.6 75.5 18.9
Islington 55 72 17
Hackney 48.8 65.5 16.7
Hounslow 61 77.7 16.7

Download speeds in London

When we look at download speeds in the capital, it’s Kingston upon Thames (81.6Mbit/s), Richmond upon Thames (81.2Mbit/s) and Sutton (78.3Mbit/s) that are the fastest.
 
The City of London (24.4Mbit/s), Westminster (39.9Mbit/s) and Tower Hamlets (44.5Mbit/s) had the slowest download speeds in the capital.

The UK areas falling below government standards

The Government recently introduced a Universal Service Obligation (USO) which advises a minimum speed of 10Mbit/s and 1Mbit/s upload speed for homes and businesses.
 
Unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the most rural communities that are being left behind. The Orkney Islands in Scotland has the highest proportion of properties that fall below this standard (7.1%), followed by other rural areas in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, such as Argyll and Bute, the Shetland Islands and Na h-Eileanan Siar (aka the Outer Hebrides).

Name County Percentage of Properties Below Government Standard
Orkney Islands Orkney Islands 7.1%
Argyll and Bute Argyll and Bute 6.8%
Shetland Islands Shetland Islands 6.1%
Na h-Eileanan Siar Na h-Eileanan Siar 5.9%
Powys Powys 5.5%

Comparethemarket.com tips for improving your broadband speed

  1. Move your router away from other devices
     
    Keep your router as far away as possible from other electrical equipment and devices that emit wireless signals, such as cordless phones, baby monitors and computer speakers. Try to place your router on a table or shelf rather than on the floor and keep it switched on.
  2. Test the speed of your broadband connection
     
    You can run a speed test using Ofcom’s official online checker. It’s a good idea to carry out multiple tests over a few days and at different times of the day to see if speeds vary. You’ll be shown both your download and upload speeds. Green ticks mean your service should work with few problems. Check your broadband provider’s website if you need to improve your signal around your home.
  3. Turn off WiFi on devices you’re not using
     
    If you have multiple devices such as tablets and smartphones running in the background, it can slow down your broadband, so try switching WiFi off on these when you’re not using them. You should also avoid carrying out data-heavy tasks like HD streaming, gaming or video calls at the same time as others in your household.
     
  4. Give your computer a spring clean
     
    There are many applications on your PC that could affect your broadband speed, some without you even realising it. A few simple quick fixes include making sure your anti-virus software is up to date, making sure you’re using the latest version of your web browser, such as Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge and clearing your cache and browser history

Methodology

To accurately measure which areas in the UK had the lowest standards for Broadband Speeds, we compared each area’s improvement between 2018 and 2019.
 
This improvement is measured against the government’s standard of Universal Service Obligation (USO). The USO dictates that premises must have a minimum of 10Mbit/s download speed and 1Mbit/s upload speed. These serve as a good standard for a relatively active household, as this will support most streaming services to a high standard, as well as a few handheld devices. Any slower service will impact most internet users experiences.
 
We compared the number of premises with broadband to the number of premises with the minimum government advisory available, to find out which areas are the worst for unacceptable Broadband standards.
 
We then took the 2018 and 2019 median and average download speeds (Mbit/s) and compared them year on year to see which cities had the best general speeds.

Notes:

Bournemouth was removed as Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole recently combined and skewed the recorded data.
 
Sources:
OFCOM Connected Cities Reports 2017, 2018 and 2019

Description of Data Source Headers:
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/131038/About-this-data-fixed-local-and-unitary-authority-201809.pdf
 
2019:
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/multi-sector-research/infrastructure-research/connected-nations-2019/data-downloads
 
2018:
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/multi-sector-research/infrastructure-research/connected-nations-2018/data-downloads

Year on Year comparison of places that don’t meet the minimum requirements set under the parameters of the Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO).

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/broadband-universal-service-obligation-consultation-on-design

2017 Connected Cities Description of USO:
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/108511/connected-nations-2017.pdf

“In July, DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) consulted on plans for a universal service obligation (USO) which would provide a decent broadband service with a minimum download speed of at least 10Mbit/s with additional quality parameters of a minimum of 1Mbit/s upload speed, minimum standard of latency and contention and a data cap of at least 100GB per month.”

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